Defining Sustainability

There is no one single established definition for sustainability and there probably won’t ever be one overarching definition as sustainability means different things to different companies as well as different industries. Sustainability really started with the whole concept of being green, becoming more environmentally friendly, and paying more attention to conserving our planet’s resources. However, sustainability has become much more than that. Sustainability is a viable business strategy which takes into account economic considerations, governmental issues, as well as strongly voiced opinions from customers and stakeholders.

The base definition of sustainability that many of our clients start with as they begin to define their own strategy and action plan is: an increase in productivity and/or reduction of consumed resources without compromising product or service quality, competitiveness, or profitability while helping to save the environment.

The Commonalities of Sustainability

No matter how a company defines sustainability or how they choose to implement the concepts there are commonalities to sustainability that run through all businesses and industries.

Sustainability creates a competitive business advantage while positively impacting the environment. It is a business strategy that aligns all the critical components of a successful organization.

People + Process + Environment = Profit

It has been proven that sustainable practices in business lead to profitability, growth and success.

When the critical components of an organization are not aligned and the people area stands alone, companies have a tendency to focus on solving problems, putting out fires and reacting to challenges as they present themselves. When processes are not aligned and there is no strategic focus, a departmental mentality starts to bubble to the surface. Variation starts to creep in and each department tends to focus on its own self-interest in lieu of process alignment. When organizations focus on environmental issues apart from their strategic direction, they are often focused on compliance and therefore environmental issues are often viewed as an expense.

However, as the components start to align you can see how people/process creates innovation, starts to prevent problems and fosters interdepartmental teams who produce results quickly. As process/environment starts to intersect departmental alignment is created. More efficient relationships with the supply chain are created while creating an environment of systems thinking. As people/environment comes together it creates employee engagement, proactive decision making, and reinforces that sustainability is part of the organization’s culture.

Contact us to find out how your organization can increase their profits and improve its people while helping to save the environment.

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Our clients have achieved sustainable business results that have included:

  • A stronger brand
  • Greater pricing power
  • Greater operational efficiencies
  • More efficient use of resources
  • Supply chain optimization
  • Enhanced ability to enter new markets
  • Enhanced ability to attract, retain, and motivate employees
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Reduced environmental impact
  • Improved innovation

Where are you now?

Complete this short assessment to ascertain where your organization is as it relates to sustainability.

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